Thursday, March 08, 2007

Politicians and the Media

I thought I would write today about the relationship between politicians and the media from an insiders point of view. I believe in the media, it plays an important role in our democracy. Nosey reporters have made the difference between a thoroughly corrupt America and one that for all its faults works, in fact it works well. So what am I getting at? Sometimes the media crosses the line. Its at these times that those who deal with the media on a daily basis get sour. Its at these times that the attitude of making them (the media) fight for anything becomes an option for some in government. This is how some of those in government look at the media as the enemy. I still don't feel that way, only because deep in my heart I know that the system America has is integral with the freedom of the press.

Where am I getting with this? Well my life has always been an open book. It becomes an open book when you decide to run for political office. But when is something personal and not news? Last year my family had some financial trouble based on unexpected expenses and some hard times. I am not a rich man, not with dollars anyway. I am blessed and rich with a loving wife of 23 years and two children whom I love very much. Some legal papers were filed on a bill I was behind on. I got caught up and the legal proceedings have been dropped. Happens to millions of people in our nation every day. The two local papers were notified. One of them by running across the legal action during their normal digging for news, the other was probably called by someone who found out and decided to call the papers.

One of the papers decided it was not news. The sheriff was behind on a bill and it was eventually paid, not a part of his official duties and no evidence that official duties were affected in any way. No attempt to not take responsibility and to pay the bill when arrangements could be made. The other paper decided it was news, why I don't know and no excuse I was given made any sense. As I weighed the embarrassment of having my bills discussed in public with my knowing that when I ran for office this is what I signed up for I was more disgusted than angry. Reporters often blame their editors when a story is edited in such a way that skews a story, they also blame editors when a decision is made to make news out of something that isn't or shouldn't be news. It's probably usually true, editors probably do make the decision on what to cover.

When government officials make a mistake the press makes them answer to it. Who makes the press answer to mistakes they make? If newspapers decide to cover things that are personal and not news would advertisers not advertise to make them pay? Probably not, many times the media hurts people when they recklessly report items or try to sensationalize items. It's what gives them the reputation they have when it comes to people truly trusting the media. We should all strive to do our jobs the best way we can and should do whats right. When we don't people can get hurt.

I ran for Sheriff because I wanted to make a difference not to get rich. I am a public servant and my $65,000 salary is not enough to ever get rich. I once met Burt Reynolds when he was in Santa Fe filming the movie The Longest Yard. His father was once a Sheriff and we had a long conversation about being Sheriff. He asked me " do you know how you can spot an honest Sheriff ?" I did not know how to answer that question so I just shrugged my shoulder and said "no." He smiled at me and said "he's a broke Sheriff". Well sometimes I am broke but we are happy and my wife sticks with me through thick and thin. Don't get me wrong, alot of people get by with much less than my salary and I am not complaining.

Maybe I am talking from the heart and not the head but that is what I have always tried to make this blog about. Not giving readers what I think they want to hear but rather saying it like it is and giving me an outlet for my writing and my sanity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to how the other half lives! It is things and times like this that keep you real and in touch with how the majority of the public lives. I know this will not affect the way you do your job and I'm certain the public will not care about irresponsible reporting. I would rather vote for someone who has been broke and knows just how bad it is!
Keep your head up as long as you have the love and support of family and friends you'll always be rich!